Anthropomorphized animals vie in contests determining the world’s best nose, ears and eyes.
This Swedish import’s greatest strength is that it gets kids thinking about the qualities that make something the best: Is the best nose one that can smell the most (dog), the farthest (polar bear), underwater (shark)? Is it one that’s pretty (moth) or one that’s multiuse (elephant)? And should the best ears stay out of the way, hear the highest or lowest pitches, pick up sounds from different directions or be in unexpected places? The determination of the best eyes looks at similar criteria. In all three cases, human senses are compared to those of the animals, but no winners are crowned—it is left up to readers to judge which is truly the best, though the book’s other strength is to nurture in readers a sense of how amazing the animal world truly is. Arrhenius’ digital illustrations are flat, cartoonish and brightly colored, illustrating the text but not going beyond it. Her animals lack detail, making the pictures suitable for younger children, though they may not be satisfied with the simple bolded sentences on each page (which don’t give much information), while the paragraphs that accompany them may be beyond them.
It is easy to predict that readers who pick this up will look for more books about the many adaptations and natural abilities of others members of the animal kingdom. (Informational picture book. 6-10)